NFL Nation: Rex Grossman

Surveying the QB market

March, 7, 2014
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Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith has said he would like to bring in a veteran to add to the quarterback mix. The team wants to add competition for Mike Glennon, who started 13 games last season.

The Bucs also may draft a quarterback, but it’s important to Smith to have some experience. With free agency starting next week, let’s look at three available quarterbacks who could be targets for the Bucs.

Michael Vick: He’s the biggest name in this year’s group of free-agent quarterbacks. Vick has plenty of experience and has played at high levels at previous times in his career. But Vick’s age and injury history could work against him.

Josh McCown: He might be the hottest name on the market after playing well in place of the injured Jay Cutler in Chicago last season. McCown might be a better long-term option than Vick. He also might be a better fit in Tampa Bay’s offensive scheme.

Rex Grossman: His career has fizzled in recent years. But let’s not overlook the fact that Grossman and Smith went to a Super Bowl together in Chicago.

Redskins free-agent scorecard

February, 28, 2014
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The free-agent period won’t begin until March 11, but the reality is that it’s already underway. At least when it comes to signing your own free agents, or looking at players cut from other teams. The Redskins have expressed interest in free-agent linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, but had yet to line up a visit with him as of late Thursday night, a team source said. The Browns released Jackson Wednesday (but the move was not submitted to the league until Thursday) and he already has visits lined up with Tennessee and Denver.

Other players will be released before March 11. Until more are free, the focus is on your own. Here’s a look at the Redskins' free agents, both those who are re-signed and still available.

They’re done:

CB DeAngelo Hall

Signed a four-year deal worth $17 million, with $4.25 million guaranteed. His cap number is only $2.1 million this season, but jumps to $4.8 million in 2015 and $5.1 in 2016. Those are hefty sums for a 30-plus cornerback. If Hall regresses this season the Redskins could always cut him next year and save $2.4 million of cap space. They’d be wise to find another good young corner to groom just to be ready. Hall could always move to safety in a couple of years as well, but the safety position is a problem they must solve this year. If it’s still an issue in, say, two years? That’s a failure.

DL Chris Baker
Signed a three-year, $12-million deal with $4 million guaranteed. That sounds like starter-type money (albeit not a high level one), but it’s certainly not guaranteed starter money. He has $1 million in incentives that are not likely to be earned -- based on play time, sack totals and Pro Bowl appearances -- each of the three years and his cap number is only $2 million this year and tops out at $4 million in the final year of the contract. The deal averages $3 million per season. It allows the Redskins to keep a young, improving lineman who can help them at multiple spots: end, nose tackle and nickel rusher. Even if he doesn’t start he will play a lot.


Still waiting:

[+] EnlargeBrian Orakpo
Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY SportsThe Redskins are interested in bringing Brian Orakpo back, but he could test the market first.
LB Brian Orakpo
The Redskins want to re-sign him and Orakpo would like to come back. But he’s more than comfortable testing the market in order to get the sort of contract he wants. The Redskins could place the franchise tag on him (the deadline is Monday). That would leave him with a salary of approximately $11 million this year, but no long-term security if he gets injured. The Redskins could sign him to a back-loaded five-year contract that has a much lower cap figure for the first two years of the deal. But at some point he’ll count a great deal against the cap and not be cuttable, at least for a year. (For example, Pittsburgh’s LaMarr Woodley, in Year 3 of his deal, counts more against the cap if he’s released.)

LB Perry Riley
The Redskins don’t want to create another hole at inside linebacker with London Fletcher already retiring. But if Riley wants a big contract he’ll have to go elsewhere. They’d prefer to keep him; they know they can upgrade if necessary. A word of warning: It's not a deep group at inside linebacker so it could be tough to fill one spot let alone two.

S Brandon Meriweather
Haven’t heard a whole lot in regards to Meriweather. It’s hard to imagine they’d bring him back on anything other than a one-year deal, while hoping that Phillip Thomas eventually becomes the starter. The Redskins need to solve this position and Meriweather’s play did not warrant him being a strong solution.

CB Josh Wilson
He did a good job against the run while in the slot, which isn’t always easy. But his coverage skills aren’t what the Redskins need. Plus David Amerson, entering his second season, should be elevated to a starter. The Redskins will need more corners, however. But they also need more size at this position.

S Reed Doughty
Doughty is a capable backup who too often was pressed into a starting role. He’s a good special-teamer as well.

CB E.J. Biggers
He was their fourth corner and played some safety, though it’s doubtful he’d have played that spot for any team other than the safety-starved Redskins. But he adds depth and there’s a chance he’ll return.

LB Rob Jackson
The Redskins have yet to talk contract with Jackson. Obviously they have Orakpo to worry about and if he signs it’s tough to imagine Jackson returning as well. He’ll want to go somewhere he has a chance to start.

LB Darryl Tapp
Very strong against the run. Not bad to keep around at all.

LB Nick Barnett
He’s not a starting candidate and they need to find backups who are much better on special teams.

WR Josh Morgan
He failed to produce considering the contract he received. The Redskins need to upgrade.

WR Santana Moss
They can always use Leonard Hankerson in the slot, but he might not be healthy until the middle of August. They still think Moss can play. If they upgrade other receiver spots they don’t need to spend a lot for a dynamic slot receiver.

QB Rex Grossman
New coach Jay Gruden has typically kept two quarterbacks, which would leave no room for Grossman. Perhaps Kyle Shanahan will want him in Cleveland to help the other quarterbacks learn his offense.

TE Fred Davis
Davis has bigger issues to worry about.

C J.D. Walton
Signed late in the season. The former third-round pick was a starter in Denver until a bad ankle injury in 2012. The Broncos cut him in December. Washington could upgrade at center.

LB Bryan Kehl
A good special-teams player, but coming off a torn ACL in October.

WR Dez Briscoe
Spent the year on injured reserve; worked with current receivers coach Ike Hilliard two years ago. Has size, but you need more than just size. The Redskins have little depth at this position.

Redskins liked Kyle Shanahan's offense

December, 30, 2013
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ASHBURN, Va. -- As he headed to and from the Redskins' facility, carrying personal belongings, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan allowed that he was at peace. He, and seven other Redskins assistants, were fired Monday along with head coach Mike Shanahan.

Not only did Kyle Shanahan exit with personal ware, he also left with his confidence. After six seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator, Shanahan remains upbeat about what he's accomplished -- and about where he's still headed. He should: The Redskins finished in the top 10 in total yards for the second consecutive year. And it's the fourth time in his six seasons as an offensive coordinator that his offenses ended up in the top 10 in total yards.

[+] EnlargeKyle Shanahan
Steve Nehf/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesKyle Shanahan's offense finished in the top 10 for two straight seasons.
"I'm pretty confident in myself," Shanahan said, when asked last week where he felt he stood as a play caller. "I feel good about myself as far as I think I'm good at what I do. I'm really trying hard not to brag on myself, I'm just trying to answer your question honestly that I'm confident in what I've done and I'm confident in my future. ... I'll continue to do a good job."

Shanahan was not the only offensive assistant fired. Quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur and receivers coach Mike McDaniel also were told they would not be retained. Offensive assistant Richmond Flowers also was let go.

But Shanahan is the one the players will miss most.

One opposing defensive coach, who faced the Redskins within the past two seasons, called Shanahan an "above average coordinator" who could be outstanding with the right head coach. His flaws, according to this coach: managing the game and play calling in critical situations. Other complaints over the years: he threw the ball too often and sometimes got too cute with his play calls.

But the Redskins moved the ball under Shanahan. They finished among the top 10 in total yards in consecutive years for the first time since 1991, the last of six straight years in the top 10. The problem is that Washington went from fourth in points per game a year ago to 23 this season. The No. 4 ranking in points in 2012 marked the only time Washington has finished in the top 10 since 1999.

"I liked Kyle's work ethic, his attention to detail," tight end Logan Paulsen said. "You know how in chess you play someone who is really good and they can see a couple moves ahead. I always felt he could do that. ... One thing I remember is talking to [tight ends coach Sean McVay] and said, ‘Why don't we just run this?' He said, ‘It doesn't have answers if you get into a bad coverage.' But the thing about Kyle and his staff they worked very hard to make sure every play has an answer so you never in an awful look."

Since 2000, the Redskins have been mostly dreadful on offense when it comes to scoring -- despite offensive-minded head coaches in Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn and Mike Shanahan. They've ranked 25th or worse in terms of scoring seven times since 2001 and 20th or worse 11 times. They ranked 13th in points per game in 2005, the next best finish after 2012.

"It's well put together," quarterback Rex Grossman said. "When he gets in a rhythm he's the best in the NFL. You can feel it as a player and it allows you to have success. ... If you're not in the right look, you do have answers so you don't feel stuck, which is a good thing and it's hard to coordinate."

Fullback Darrel Young said, "I respect everything he did for me, this team and this offense. All the people that criticized him, we still had Alfred [Morris] as one of the top 10 rushers in the league."

But Shanahan did not earn the complete trust of quarterback Robert Griffin III. And there is this matter: The Redskins finished 24-40 under the Mike Shanahan regime. In a bottom line business, that's the number that jumps out.

"You don't have a good record and that starts with myself as much as anybody else," Kyle Shanahan said last week. "The ultimate goal is wins."

Redskins UFAs face possible Fed Ex finale

December, 19, 2013
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We know Sunday will be London Fletcher’s last home game. The Washington Redskins have 15 other players who could be appearing in their last home game as well because of their pending free agency. If there’s a new coach, there could be a mass exodus. But for now I’ll stick with the pending unrestricted free agents currently on the active roster.

[+] EnlargeBrian Orakpo
Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY SportsBrian Orakpo will be the most expensive player to re-sign of the Redskins' soon-to-be unrestricted free agents.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo: He views himself as an elite linebacker, which means he’ll want to get paid like one. Last year’s top free agent at outside linebacker was Paul Kruger, who received $8.2 million per year with $20 million guaranteed and signing bonuses totaling $12.85 million. Orakpo is better. Whether or not you think he’s elite, in a passing league it’s tough to let good pass-rushers walk, especially if you plan to stick with a 3-4.

Tight end Fred Davis: Hard to see why he’d want to return, especially if the head coach remains. Yes, he’d be good insurance given questions about Jordan Reed’s durability but that’s not what Davis wants. He wants to start. I can't imagine him getting a big deal after the past couple of years of suspension, injuries and now questions about his work ethic.

Linebacker Perry Riley: If you’re staying in a 3-4, you keep him around. You’re already going to have a transition at the other spot; it’s good to have someone who knows the defense. He’s flawed, but steady and won’t cost too much.

Defensive lineman Chris Baker: He’s talented, but inconsistent. He makes plays because of his penetration, but sometimes misses plays because he’s so intent on getting upfield. A nice backup.

Linebacker Darryl Tapp: Looked good this summer, but hasn’t played a whole lot this season. Not a great pass-rusher from this spot, but strong. Not an all-around linebacker. A good backup, but the Redskins would do well to find younger backup linebackers who can excel on special teams.

Linebacker Rob Jackson: If they lose Orakpo, could Jackson be a good alternative? He certainly won’t cost as much, but he’s also not as good. He’s worth keeping as a primary backup, but Jackson should first look for a starting job elsewhere based on his 2012 film.

Quarterback Rex Grossman: All depends on the coaching staff and what happens with Kirk Cousins. If Grossman is your third quarterback, you’re in good shape. But it wouldn’t stun me if the Redskins start looking for another No. 3, perhaps a younger player they can groom into a solid No. 2 for 2015 when it’s hard to imagine both Cousins and Robert Griffin III still being on the roster.

Corner E.J. Biggers: Offers versatility and would be cheap. Just a backup.

Receiver Santana Moss: He’s been an excellent Redskin and a personal favorite because he’s always available after games and during the week, win or lose, since joining the team in 2005. But his productivity has waned; at 35 (in June) that will continue. Tough to see him returning. If this staff stays in place, next year’s slot could be Leonard Hankerson, but because of his injury they’ll need some insurance in case he’s not ready. Perhaps that’s how Moss returns, but with a new staff? Don’t see it. He deserves kudos from the crowd Sunday for a career well done in Washington.

Receiver Josh Morgan: There’s little reason to bring him back; he hasn’t been productive and his blocking has been inconsistent.

Safety Reed Doughty: If there’s a new staff, sometimes guys like Doughty -- valuable special-teamers and role players -- get lost in the shuffle. But he’s worth keeping around because of what he does.

Corner Josh Wilson: He’s been fine in the slot, doing a nice job against the run from this position. That’s important. But he’s 28 and descending. Not everyone likes small corners, so a new staff could go in a different direction. I have a tough time seeing him return, especially as a starter.

Corner DeAngelo Hall: He made big plays in the first half of the season, though he’s been quiet lately. When playing off man or zone he’s not as effective. He’s also 30. If the Redskins keep only one of Hall or Wilson, then the former is more productive. They have so many areas to address that they might not be able to find all the answers in free agency or the draft. I don’t know if David Amerson will be a quality starter, but a second-round pick in Year 2 should be one of your top two. I’d pair him with a younger veteran via free agency who is still ascending and can be the lead guy.

Linebacker Nick Barnett: Not a good alternative to Fletcher because of his coverage skills. A good guy in the locker room and a pro, but he turns 33 in May. And if you’re not going to start, you’d better do well on special teams. Not his strength.

Center J.D. Walton: They just claimed him off waivers. He’s a former starter worth checking out; the Redskins need stronger center play.

Falcons 27, Redskins 26: Ten Observations

December, 15, 2013
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1. Robert Griffin III said all the right things Wednesday after learning he’d be shut down for the season. And he handled himself the right way Sunday. There’s no doubt he knew the camera would be on him quite a bit. But he appeared to be in the game the entire time -- celebrating, upset when the two-point conversion failed, sitting next to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Kirk Cousins as they looked over snapshots during the game. It’s exactly the way Griffin needed to behave.

2. I thought backup Rex Grossman was pretty good talking about how Griffin conducted himself Sunday. Here’s what he had to say: “Great. It’s a tough situation, but at the same time he’s a good person and he has a bright future. He’s the franchise quarterback. I think this situation is tough because it’s so dramatic and he’s handling it with class and going with it. It’s not that big a deal, I think.” Wait? Not a big deal? Here’s why he said that: “Because he’s going to have all the opportunity in the world to be as successful as he wants to be and he has a long time to get ready and his career is still [going up]. He understands that. Everybody does.”

[+] EnlargeKirk Cousins
AP Photo/John BazemoreKirk Cousins had a nice day passing, throwing for 381 yards, but his three turnovers proved costly.
3. It’s hard to praise Cousins for his performance without it sounding like a shot at Griffin. One doesn’t have to be about the other. They’re different. They have different strengths, which is why one offense will never look exactly the same for two quarterbacks. The zone read flourished last year; Cousins couldn’t run it. Cousins is more comfortable in the pocket. Naturally, more plays will be called for him there. I’ll say this: Atlanta’s defense is really bad and the Falcons were using three rookies in the secondary. That’s not taking anything away from Cousins because he still must execute and he did. He did that well, aside from a couple of plays (the turnovers, obviously). Those turnovers were the difference in the game and Cousins does throw picks. I remember one scout before the 2012 draft worrying about this part of his game. That must change. Anyway, seven turnovers in a game after having 14 all of last season. The Redskins should not have been in the game given that statistic.

4. But I liked how, on Cousins’ 53-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, the ball landed in the receiver’s arms right after he made his double move. No hesitation. I liked how Cousins used his eyes and didn’t lock in on guys. He was decisive with his throws and was able to step into his passes. Cousins also usually gave receivers a chance to gain yards after the catch. He also avoided negative situations or third and real long. The Redskins were 5-of-10 on third downs with all but three for 6 yards or less. Makes a difference. Cousins helped by hitting checkdowns in certain situations, thanks to keeping his eyes downfield.

5. The problem with covering the Washington Redskins now is that so much of what goes on right now doesn’t pertain to football. Rather, it’s about reacting to various reports, or trying to find out what’s true and what isn’t. NFL Network reported today that Kyle Shanahan plans on setting out “on his own path next year.” Shanahan denied this in a text Sunday night, saying it’s “100 percent not true.” But I do know that he’s never liked when people refer to he and his dad as the “Shanahans”. And that it would be good for him to be on his own, away from the questions that surround coaching for your father -- especially when you’re not winning. He did a good job publicly trying to distance himself from the quarterback switch last week.

6. I don’t blame Mike Shanahan for being annoyed with questions about his job status or situation. And he did answer a lot of these things publicly last week. But these stories keep getting leaked so the local media is then forced to ask about them. It’s a bad cycle, but it starts with the leaks. Simple as that. You know why sports reporters get into this business? To cover games, not Watergate.

7. I had no problem with the Redskins going for the two-point conversion. You’re 3-10, win the game when you have the chance. They had been picking apart the Atlanta secondary all game. They used a lot of screens and rub routes throughout the game and the Falcons did not handle them well. Naturally, on the two-point conversion they ran one that the Falcons finally defended. Cornerback Desmond Trufant didn’t let himself get picked by Josh Morgan, instead clamping on to Garcon, the primary read.

8. However, Morgan appeared open. Cousins blamed himself for the play, something he does quite a bit. He’s more honest about his bad plays than his good ones. “My initial reaction is I had Josh open on an offscheduled play and if I had set my feet, I may have been able to drill it into Pierre. That’s a play I clearly didn’t have a good enough feel for.”

9. Give the Redskins’ defense a lot of credit for how they played. Atlanta scored 20 points off turnovers , with one touchdown drive starting at the Redskins’ 2. Atlanta started four drives in Washington territory (managing 20 points). The Redskins forced six punts and held Atlanta to 243 total yards. Linebacker Brian Orakpo had a terrific game with eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries working against left tackle Lamar Holmes. Orakpo used speed and power and set up Holmes well; he got him outside and then when Holmes set wide, Orakpo would get into his chest and cut inside. Defensive lineman Chris Baker played one of his best games -- maybe his best -- with four tackles and a hurry. He did a nice job shedding blocks, too, and making stops.

10. Running back Alfred Morris was too loose with the ball and it hurt Washington twice. His fumbles did not lead to points, but they occurred deep in Atlanta territory so they took away the Redskins’ chance to score. Think another field goal would have made a difference? His game was like too many others: “Good game, but …” Morris finished with 98 yards on 18 carries and was terrific on the inside zone pitch; the Falcons linebackers overflowed and gave him cutback alleys. “A rope-a-dope deal,” as Logan Paulsen called it. At times when the linebackers tried to read the play, it bought time for the offensive linemen to reach them.

Kirk Cousins praised for performance

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
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ATLANTA -- They praised him for his command in the huddle, the poise he showed in the pocket and his decisive passes. Quarterback Kirk Cousins provided what the Washington Redskins needed in the passing game.

[+] EnlargeCousins-Griffin
AP Photo/David GoldmanRedskins QB Kirk Cousins, sitting beside inactive teammate Robert Griffin III, watches as the Falcons' offense takes to the field in the second half.
Yes, he took advantage of a weak pass defense using three rookies in the secondary. Cousins also made one play after another, which is one reason the Redskins only lost 27-26, despite seven turnovers. In his first start of the season, with coach Mike Shanahan saying he benched Robert Griffin III to keep him healthy for the offseason, Cousins completed 29-of-45 passes for 381 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He became the first Redskins quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards in his first two starts -- his debut occurred in Week 15 last season.

"It was a gutsy performance by him," Redskins backup quarterback Rex Grossman said. "A lot of chaos during the week."

Chaos doesn't seem to even sum up the week. For Cousins, though, it was about an opportunity. He capitalized in a big way. But Cousins didn't focus on what he did well, instead pointing out his mistakes, including his fumble and the failed two-point conversion.

"Those four plays, if they go differently, it's probably a much better result," Cousins said. "[On the interceptions], the ball needed to be thrown further in and it's a completion and we're moving the chains. That's something I'll never do again. Every in cut I throw now will be where it needs to be."

The coaches still liked what he showed.

"It was nice to see him go out there and play with a lot of confidence," coach Mike Shanahan said. "He kept his composure and did a heck of a job leading us down the field. Just proud of the way he handled himself."

Cousins responded to adversity well. He threw a first-half interception from his own 1-yard line, failing to lead receiver Aldrick Robinson on an in-route. But on the next drive, Cousins connected with receiver Pierre Garcon for a 53-yard score. Cousins led field-goal drives on the next two series.

After his second interception, this one with 5 minutes, 45 seconds left in the game that led to a Falcons field goal and a 27-20 lead, Cousins drove the Redskins for what nearly was the game-winning series. He connected with receiver Santana Moss for a three-yard touchdown. On this series, Cousins completed 10 of 13 passes for 85 yards.
"He was just making very quick decisions," Grossman said, "getting the ball out quickly and accurately and conducting himself like a vet."

In recent weeks, Griffin had been hit much more than Washington liked. Sunday, Cousins was sacked once and hit only three times. He avoided potential sacks by getting rid of the ball or finding his checkdowns, which also helped him stay away from third-and-long situations as well.

"I had time," Cousins said. "I felt I was given a chance to succeed."

For the first time in several weeks, the Redskins' offense played with confidence. Players did not want to make it look like any positive comment about Cousins was a knock on Griffin. But there are differences.

"Kirk does a good job of asserting his own energy and his own mentality into the huddle," said Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen, who stressed that there's no issue with Griffin in this regard. "Rob is more laid back. Kirk demands a certain type of tempo and you saw that [Sunday] a little bit. Guys were in and out of the huddle. Guys were more energetic."

There's no threat of Cousins running the ball, unlike Griffin. That means he has to keep his eyes downfield and handle himself in the pocket differently, knowing his legs aren't a good option. The Redskins did not run the zone read option, focusing more on bootlegs and drop-backs.

"He was very poised to step into the situation he did," Redskins running back Alfred Morris said. "He did a phenomenal job commanding the huddle and commanding the game and overcoming adversity. He had turnovers; it happens. But it shows the character he has that he didn't let negative things like that bring him down."

Jordan Reed, Darrel Young inactive

December, 1, 2013
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The Washington Redskins expected tight end Jordan Reed to play Sunday night against the New York Giants, but a pregame headache will sideline the rookie for a second consecutive game. Earlier in the day, a team official told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Reed would play. But after warming up the Redskins decided he would be inactive.

Reed
Fullback Darrel Young also will be inactive for a second consecutive game because of a hamstring injury. Young expressed optimism throughout the week that he would play. Compounding matters at this position is that tight end Niles Paul will be inactive after missing three practices this week with an undisclosed illness.

Paul served as Young's replacement last week, but now when the Redskins need a fullback they'll have to use one of the two tight ends active Sunday night: Logan Paulsen or Fred Davis. They'll also miss Paul and Young on special teams. However, it will be a good chance for Davis to show what he can still do. The problem is, quarterback Robert Griffin III had developed a strong level of trust in Reed, especially on third down.

The other Redskins inactives: quarterback Rex Grossman, cornerback Chase Minnifield, linebacker Brandon Jenkins and guard Josh LeRibeus.

The Giants' inactives: quarterback Ryan Nassib, cornerback Corey Webster, running back Brandon Jacobs, cornerback Trumaine McBride, tight end Adrien Robinson, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and offensive lineman Stephen Goodin. Also, James Brewer will start at left guard for Kevin Boothe, who shifts to center to replace injured Jim Cordle. With McBride and Webster out, Jayron Hosley will start at corner.

Josh Morgan inactive for Redskins

November, 17, 2013
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Washington Redskins hoped wide receiver Josh Morgan could develop into a solid No. 2 receiver. Then they hoped he could fill in as a kick and punt returner. But Morgan hasn't accomplished any of that and, Sunday, he was made inactive.

Morgan
The Redskins placed Morgan on their seven-man inactive list for their game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Morgan, in the final year of his contract, had not made an impact at receiver or as a returner. The latter isn't surprising because Morgan had not returned punts in the NFL -- and only returned seven while at Virginia Tech. Morgan was surpassed as the starting Z receiver by third-year Leonard Hankerson, who is not a big playmaker but has been more productive than Morgan.

This also means undrafted rookie free agent Nick Williams will return punts in his NFL debut. He was signed off the practice squad during the week. Williams returned four punts for a touchdown in college.

Also inactive for Washington: quarterback Rex Grossman, guard Josh LeRibeus, safety Jose Gumbs, linebacker Brandon Jenkins, tight end Fred Davis and nose tackle Chris Neild. Jenkins was active in the first game against Philadelphia as the Redskins wanted more speed in their rush

For the Eagles, the inactives are quarterback Michael Vick, safety Earl Wolff, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, cornerback Bradley Fletcher, linebacker Jake Knott, receiver Damaris Johnson and tackle Dennis Kelly. Banged-up left tackle Jason Peters will start.

Redskins' Fred Davis inactive again

November, 7, 2013
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis was put on the inactive list for Thursday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. This time it will cost him.

Davis
Davis needed to be active for 12 games this season in order to collect a $500,000 bonus. The initial reason for that bonus was because of Davis' Achilles' injury that ended is 2012 season. The Redskins wanted to protect themselves if he couldn't play much this season -- and reward him if he could. Davis has been a healthy inactive the past four games; he sat out one game because of a sprained ankle.

The emergence of rookie Jordan Reed, who leads all NFL rookies with 38 receptions, and the fact that Davis does not play special teams have kept him inactive. Niles Paul is actually the fourth tight end, but he is active because of his special-teams performance.

There weren't any surprises among the other inactives: quarterback Rex Grossman, running back Chris Thompson, safety Jose Gumbs, offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus, linebacker Brandon Jenkins and nose tackle Chris Neild. Jenkins was active last week as the Redskins wanted more speed in the pass rush. Thursday, veteran Darryl Tapp will be active instead.

Bacarri Rambo, Jose Gumbs to start

October, 27, 2013
10/27/13
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DENVER -- The Washington Redskins opted for inexperience at safety -- not that they had much of a choice.

Meriweather
Meriweather
Jose Gumbs will start at strong safety and Bacarri Rambo will start at free safety, a youthful and inexperienced combination against one of the NFL's all-time best quarterbacks in Peyton Manning. Reed Doughty (concussion) and Brandon Meriweather (suspension) are out.

The Redskins could have opted for E.J. Biggers to start at free safety, in essence giving the Redskins four cornerbacks on the field. But that's not the best alternative either, though in passing situations his speed would help.

Rambo, a rookie sixth-round pick, started the first two games of the season, but was benched in part because of his tackling, then was inactive the past three games because of his inability to stand out on special teams. One thing he did well during training camp and when he started is not get beat deep. That will be an important factor Sunday.

Gumbs, a first-year player, has played nine career snaps, but has shown the ability to hit. However, this game will also be as much about discipline and making sure to play the right coverages.

The Redskins will start Jarvis Jenkins at left end, moving Kedric Golston into a reserve role. Jenkins played the past two weeks as a backup following his four-game drug suspension. His ability to collapse the pocket will be pivotal.

Meanwhile, tight end Fred Davis is a healthy inactive for a second consecutive game. The Redskins keep Niles Paul active for his special teams play. Their other inactives: quarterback Rex Grossman, guard Josh LeRibeus, running back Chris Thompson, linebacker Brandon Jenkins and nose tackle Chris Neild.

TE Fred Davis among inactives

October, 20, 2013
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LANDOVER, Md. -- Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis is inactive for Sunday’s game at Chicago, likely as much a coaching decision as an injury one. However, there has been a sense that Davis hasn’t fully recovered from his sprained ankle earlier this season.

Davis
Davis, the starter until earlier this season, has been replaced by rookie Jordan Reed as the main pass-catching threat and is not as good a blocker as Logan Paulsen. Therefore, Davis is the third tight end -- and he’s not a key special teams player. That’s why Niles Paul remains active. Davis' attention to detail hasn't always pleased the coaches and they have other tight ends they view as better -- and better workers.

The other Redskins inactives: quarterback Rex Grossman, safety Bacarri Rambo, running back Chris Thompson, linebacker Brandon Jenkins, guard Josh LeRibeus and nose tackle Chris Neild. No real surprises from this group; Rambo’s stock has fallen mightily, but this is just a continuation of that decline. His special teams play is a big reason why he’s no longer active.

Fred Davis, Kai Forbath inactive

September, 22, 2013
9/22/13
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LANDOVER, Md. -- Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis is among their seven inactives for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, along with place-kicker Kai Forbath.

Davis injured his ankle late in the week and was added to the injury list Saturday morning. Davis tested his ankle Sunday morning and could be seen walking with a slight limp at times. He will be replaced in the starting lineup by Logan Paulsen, but rookie Jordan Reed will see considerable action. Reed replaced Davis in many sets in last week's loss at Green Bay, playing 21 second-half snaps to Davis' five. Davis said he only made one or two missed assignments, but that number likely does not mesh with what the coaches would say. He also dropped a pass. Meanwhile, Reed is still learning, but makes tough catches -- he made Robert Griffin III look good last week by grabbing a pass that was far behind him in the end zone, a catch few tight ends could make.

Forbath was unable to kick Saturday, a good sign that he would be inactive Sunday. John Potter will handle the kicking chores. Nothing has changed since last week: Potter has a strong leg but is inconsistent on field goals even in practice.

The Redskins other inactives: quarterback Rex Grossman, defensive lineman Chris Baker, guard Josh LeRibeus, running back Evan Royster and safety Jose Gumbs. Baker is a surprise, but it's not as if he's played well in the first two games as a backup in the nickel package.

Detroit will be without running back Reggie Bush, which is good news for a defense that needs a break. He provides the Lions' offense with another threat to go with receiver Calvin Johnson. The Lions did a good job getting Bush the ball in the open field. Joique Bell will replace Bush in the lineup.

Washington Redskins inactives

September, 15, 2013
9/15/13
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Redskins will use place-kicker John Potter instead of injured Kai Forbath in rainy Green Bay on Sunday. Potter has never attempted a field goal in the NFL, but he was in the Redskins' camp this summer and has a strong leg for kickoffs. There were days in training camp where Potter looked pretty good on field goals, then other days where he was inconsistent with 40-yard line drives.

But there were no other surprises among the inactives. The other six are quarterback Rex Grossman, running back Evan Royster, safety Jordan Pugh, safety Jose Gumbs, nose tackle Chris Neild and guard Josh LeRibeus. The fact that two safeties are inactive suggests they have confidence that strong safety Brandon Meriweather will hold up in his first action of the season -- and his first regular-season game since Nov. 18 against Philadelphia. Pugh and Gumbs both play free safety, though they worked with Pugh this summer on playing more in the box.

The fact that Neild again is inactive suggests the Redskins will use a lot of their nickel package again. Neild plays almost exclusively in their base package as Barry Cofield's backup.

The good news for Washington is that Green Bay safety Morgan Burnett is inactive. He's their most experienced safety and his absence last week did not help in the Packers' loss at San Francisco.

Meriweather among Redskins inactives

September, 9, 2013
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Washington Redskins strong safety Brandon Meriweather, limited all summer because of his knee and lately by a groin injury, won't play Monday night against Philadelphia. Meriweather was among the Redskins' seven inactives for the season opener versus Philadelphia.

It's not a big surprise considering Meriweather was limited in practice all week. And, because he's struggled to stay healthy, he's not a player the Redskins want to rush back. Veteran Reed Doughty will start in his place. Doughty gives the Redskins a knowledgable player who tackles well in the box.

But the Redskins are more limited in coverage with Doughty. Last year in Meriweather's one game, for example, the Redskins ran a corner blitz with Josh Wilson that they had not run in previous games. It was done because of Meriweather's speed and ability to rotate onto receiver DeSean Jackson.

The other inactives: Rex Grossman, Pat White, Evan Royster, Jose Gumbs, Josh LeRibeus and Chris Neild.

Again, there are no real surprises here. LeRibeus is third among their backup lineman after a poor spring and inconsistent summer. Adam Gettis can play both guard spots, even though he's only played right guard in games. Neild is the No. 1 backup at nose tackle but with the Redskins expected to play a lot of nickel packages tonight, there's not much need for a backup nose. If starter Barry Cofield was injured, then Chris Baker could play nose.

Royster is more of an insurance policy and might not be active unless either Alfred Morris or Roy Helu aren't going to play that game. Chris Thompson can be worked into various packages and likely will return the ball Monday.

Philadelphia's inactives: quarterback Matt Barkley, cornerback Shaun Prater, offensive lineman Dennis Kelly, offensive lineman Matt Tobin, tight end Emil Igwenagu and defensive lineman Vinny Curry. The Eagles only needed to have six inactive because they had an open spot on the roster after releasing Brandon Hughes. Curry's inclusion on this list was a bit of a surprise.

Predicting the Redskins' final 53

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
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This is like picking the NCAA basketball tournament. Most teams are very easy to pick -- going out on a limb and projecting Robert Griffin III on the roster, barring conflicting statements of course. And there are few things I dislike more than picking the final 53. Why? Chance to be wrong too many times. And yet, here I am on the eve of cut-down day sending out projections. Fortunately, I feel good about tight ends, linebackers and the defensive line. And, I think, quarterbacks. But I'm shaky on running back, receiver and the defensive backfield. More fluid parts there.

QUARTERBACKS (3)
They’re in:
Griffin, Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman
Out: Pat White

Note: White made strides, and under different circumstances I’d keep him around. Just to see how he develops. But with questions about Griffin’s durability, I’d be reluctant to have White as my third quarterback because of his inexperience. He improved with his accuracy, but still was inconsistent on certain throws. He’ll take time to develop. Would you keep White to groom him as the backup and then trade Cousins in the offseason? Sure. But what if something else happens to Griffin and you hang onto Cousins, just in case? When you listen to the coaches, they definitely like how White has progressed. Their enthusiasm for his progress is genuine. A few weeks ago I would not have written any explanation about why he would or would not stick around.

RUNNING BACKS (5)
They’re in:
Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Keiland Williams, Chris Thompson, Darrel Young
Out: Evan Royster

Note: Royster is a better running back, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to trade him. (Was told by one coach of another team there would be at least a limited market for him.) Before the Bucs game, I was convinced he was gone. Now? I think it's 51-49 he leaves. Or, perhaps 50.5-49.5. Williams is a better special-teams player than Royster. Both have solid hands, but Royster needs the ball a lot to be effective. So in a pinch he’s not as effective. Though he’s a good fit in a zone-read, the Redskins have a featured back (Morris), a third-down back (Helu), a speed back (Thompson) and a special-teamer do-it-all (Williams). It does not sound as if Williams' shoulder is that bad from Thursday; if it is, then this changes.

TIGHT ENDS (4)
They’re in:
Fred Davis, Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul
Out: Emmanuel Ogbuehi

Note: No surprises here. On draft day coach Mike Shanahan made it clear they could keep four tight ends. Paul looked a lot more comfortable this summer than last, thanks to an offseason of work after playing the position for the first time. Reed will help once he becomes more consistent. Ogbuehi impressed them, but there’s no room.

RECEIVERS (5)
They’re in:
Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson
Out: Dez Briscoe, Skye Dawson, Nick Williams

Note: The first five were a lock before camp opened and remained that way throughout the summer. Briscoe could sneak in because of his size, but his hands are inconsistent – that was true last season and again this summer. He had a nice play the other night, but I didn’t like that he got caught from behind. With four tight ends, three of whom are solid receiving threats, and with Helu, the Redskins don’t need as many receivers as in the past. Keep in mind, too, that Shanahan has kept as few as four wideouts in the past (with Denver in 2005 and ’08, according to their opening day rosters). If they keep Dawson or Williams around on the practice squad they should be fine. Neither Dawson nor Williams did enough to warrant a spot. Dawson is quick and was tough to cover in one-on-one drills, but did little in 11-on-11 work. As a returner he was fine, but needed to be great.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
They’re in:
Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Tom Compton, Adam Gettis, Josh LeRibeus
Out: Tony Pashos

Note: The Redskins opt for youth at the backup spots, but while Pashos did show some good things – his hands, strength – I’m not sure he moved as well as needed in this offense. Again, another one I’m uneasy about because I don’t like the inexperience with the backups. Plus Compton’s development at left tackle should give them confidence that he could move to the right side if needed. The problem: Compton did not have a good final game, especially early. Gave up more than you’d like in protection and some issues in the run game, too. He was inconsistent in the opener, but played well in the second and third games. They also have Maurice Hurt, who likely will be on the PUP list. I’m uneasy with the backup guards, even though I do like how Gettis progressed.

DEFENSIVE LINE (6)
They’re in:
Kedric Golston, Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, Chris Baker, Chris Neild, Phillip Merling
Out: Ron Brace

Note: Merling would have been bumped had Jarvis Jenkins not been suspended. So when Jenkins returns, Merling could be in trouble. But Merling was fine against the run. Golston has played well enough to open at left end; he does a better job than Baker of doing his job here, occupying blockers. Baker too often likes to get upfield and make plays; it can lead to big gaps in the defense.

LINEBACKERS (8)
They’re in:
Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley, London Fletcher, Brian Orakpo, Darryl Tapp, Bryan Kehl, Nick Barnett, Brandon Jenkins
Out: Will Compton, Marvin Burdette

Note: This is tough for me because I like how Compton has played. He’s a smart, decisive player who was able to defeat blockers in part because he often beat them to the spot. I’d definitely want him on the practice squad. The other question is, what happens when Rob Jackson returns from suspension? Do they cut one of these players? I don’t know who you would cut; Tapp has been a terrific surprise (for me anyway) and Jenkins is safe. So they might end up with nine linebackers when Jackson returns.

CORNERBACKS (6)
They’re in:
DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, E.J. Biggers, David Amerson, Chase Minnifield, Jerome Murphy

Note: Murphy is a surprise choice; the coaches really like him and he’s a physical player and good on special teams.

SAFETIES (5)
They’re in:
Brandon Meriweather, Reed Doughty, Bacarri Rambo, Jordan Pugh, DeJon Gomes.
Out: Jose Gumbs

Note: Gumbs to the practice squad. And, by the way, I’m not confident at all in this position. The Redskins, one league source said, had contacted teams about Gomes a couple weeks ago, seeing if there was any trade interest. Whether or not he’s still on the market – or if anyone would part with something for him -- I don’t know. And if they’re concerned about Meriweather’s durability, perhaps you keep Gomes because he can play in the box and back up Doughty. He’s also a good special-teams player. I'm not anticipating a Tanard Jackson return either. He can apply for reinstatement Saturday. That does not mean he'll be reinstated immediately -- if at all. Remember, it was an indefinite suspension.

SPECIALISTS (3)
They're in:
Sav Rocca, Kai Forbath, Nick Sundberg

Note: If you’re expecting great analysis here, stop reading. Nothing to say. They were in from Day One.

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